by David Salman
Gardening is such a primal calling, a direct connection with the earth and plants that feed, clothe, medicate and dazzle us. So a garden journal can really be about a lot or a little, because gardening tells us much and has so much to teach us.
For those of your considering journaling about your gardening thoughts and experiences, here are some of the topics you could consider including:
- The Weather - The weather fascinates me. And you can’t grow plants without knowledge and appreciation for the weather and its profound influence on the garden. Write down weather events: high-low temperatures, last frost date for the year, first frost date of the year, rainfall measurements from your home rain gauge and weather patterns. These are significant events in the life of a garden and the gardener who is taking care of it.
- Habitat Garden Observations - The importance of providing habitat with our gardens can’t be over stated. And one of the great joys of attracting wildlife to your plants is recording what you see. Keep a list of the birds you see, and when you see them. Make notes about what they’re eating. I would record the dates of the first hummingbird coming through in the spring and when I last noticed a hummingbird in late fall.
- Plant Notes - I pay a lot of attention to not only my individual plants but to the combinations into which I plant them. Be sure to date when certain plants come into bloom and what the most colorful and pleasing combinations happened this growing season. Make notes about what plants got their flowers frosted or which ones escaped frost damage.
- Fruit Tree Observations - There is so much to record in your garden journal when growing fruit trees. Growing fruit is all about being organized and recording the dates when you set out your pheromone traps or sprayed the dormant oil. And of course since you’re likely already be journaling about the weather, when you started picking your summer apples.
- Poetry - As a kid I loved writing haiku poems. I’ve not spend any time since writing poetry, but a beautiful garden setting has have been the muse for many a poet, great and small.
I must admit, I’ve never had the discipline to do a formal garden journal even though I spend a lot of time gardening and it is one of the great joys in my life. I admire people who do keep a journal and make it a point to record their thoughts and experiences with gardening and plants.
As I write this blog (which many could consider a garden journal, just a more public one), I’ve realized I use my camera to keep a visual record of my garden. I love it that with the digital cameras, the photos are arranged chronologically and filed by dates in my photo archives. I often refer back into my photos to check a flowering date, or a successful plant combination. So I guess I do keep a garden journal, just in a different medium.
So really, the key to journaling is not how you do, but that you find a way to do it in a way that is natural and easy for you. Our gardens, the plants we love, the people and wild creatures that visit our gardens and enjoy our plants are all part of the fabric of our lives and are worth of remembering and appreciating.
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